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Íñigo Méndez de Vigo

Íñigo Méndez de Vigo y Montojo, 9th Baron of Claret (born 21 January 1956) is a Spanish aristocrat and politician. He served as Minister of Education, Culture and Sport between 26 June 2015 and 1 June 2018, when a vote of no-confidence against Mariano Rajoy ousted the government. He was also the Spokesperson of the Government from 4 November 2016 until his departure on 1 June 2018.

Íñigo Méndez de Vigo
Íñigo Méndez de Vigo 2018 (cropped).jpg
At the 32nd Goya Awards, 2018
Minister of Education, Culture and Sport
In office
25 June 2015 – 1 June 2018
Prime MinisterMariano Rajoy
Preceded byJosé Ignacio Wert
Succeeded byIsabel Celaá (Minister of Education and Vocational Training)
Màxim Huerta (Minister of Culture and Sport)
Spokesperson of the Government
In office
4 November 2016 – 1 June 2018
Preceded bySoraya Sáenz de Santamaría
Succeeded byIsabel Celaá
Secretary of State for the European Union
In office
23 December 2011 – 26 June 2015
Preceded byDiego López Garrido
Succeeded byFernando Eguidazu Palacios
Member of the Congress of Deputies
Assumed office
13 January 2016
Member of the European Parliament
In office
19 October 1992 – 23 December 2011
Personal details
Íñigo Méndez de Vigo Montojo

(1956-01-21) 21 January 1956 (age 63)
Tetuan, Spanish Protectorate of Morocco
Political partyPeople's Party
Spouse(s)María Pérez de Herrasti y Urquijo
ParentsLieutenant-Colonel Íñigo Méndez de Vigo y del Arc;
Paloma de Montojo y de Icaza y de León y Sureda, 2nd Countess of Areny
ResidenceMadrid, Spain
OccupationPolitician, legal advisor, civil servant, jurist
Military service
Years of service1977–1980
UnitUniversity Militias

He is a fourth cousin once-removed of Felipe VI through common descent from Queen Maria Cristina, Queen and later Regent of Spain.[1]

Childhood and educationEdit

Méndez de Vigo was born on 21 January 1956 in Tetuan, then part of the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco, where his father was serving as a lieutenant in the infantry. He is descended, amongst others, from the Marquesses of Cubas, the Dukes of Riánsares and María Cristina de Borbón, princesa de las Dos Sicilias,[2] and via his maternal grandmother, the novelist Carmen de Icaza,[3] he succeeded, in 1980, to her title as 9th Baron de Claret.[4]

Méndez de Vigo has a brother, Pedro, an army officer, and two sisters, Beatriz and Valeria, one who is the secretary general of the National Intelligence Center, and the other for a non-governmental organisation.[5]

He completed his schooling at the German School in Madrid, as well as studying French language at the Académie française and learning English at the British Institute School. He graduated in law from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 1978.

Following the completion of his military service with the rank of lieutenant and after passing the public exams, he became legal advisor to the Cortes Generales in 1981.

He is married to María Pérez de Herrasti y Urquijo, heiress to the marquisates of Albayda (with Grandeeship of Spain) and La Conquista.


Political careerEdit

In 1982, at the age of 26, Méndez de Vigo was appointed director of interparliamentary relations for the Cortes Generales. In 1984 he accepted the position of special advisor to then-secretary general of the Council of Europe, Marcelino Oreja.

He joined the People's Party at its founding Conference in 1989, and stood unsuccessfully in that year as one of its candidates at the European election.

In October 1992 he was elected a Member of the European Parliament, a position he held until December 2011. He also served as a member of the People's Party's National Steering Committee.

Méndez de Vigo served as the European People's Party co-ordinator on the Committee on Constitutional Affairs from 1994 and on its Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (2009–2011), as well as:

  • Chairman of the EP Delegation to the Convention drafting the Charter of Fundamental Rights (1999–2000);
  • Chairman of the EP Delegation to the European Convention (2003–04);
  • EP representative to the IGC (2004);
  • Parliament's rapporteur (with Richard Corbett MEP) on the Treaty establishing a European Constitution (2004);
  • Parliament's rapporteur (with Richard Corbett MEP) on the Treaty of Lisbon.
In 2017, during a press conference in La Moncloa

Between 2006 and 2007, Méndez de Vigo served as member of the Amato Group, a group of high-level European politicians unofficially working on rewriting the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe into what became known as the Treaty of Lisbon following its rejection by French and Dutch voters. In 2009 he was appointed president of the College of Europe.

After his appointment to the Spanish Government in December 2011 by Mariano Rajoy Brey, Méndez de Vigo served as Secretary of State for the European Union. In June 2015 he was appointed Minister of Education, Culture and Sport in replacement of José Ignacio Wert.[6] In November 2016, in the Second Rajoy Government, he was also appointed Spokesperson of the Government.

Academic careerEdit

  • Lecturer in constitutional law (UCM, 1981–1984)
    • Lecturer in community law (1989–1991)
  • Jean Monnet Chair in European Institutions (UCM, 1999–2004)
    • Honorary Jean Monnet Chair (2004)

Other activitiesEdit


Méndez de Vigo has written numerous books and articles on Europe:

  • Una Reforma Fiscal para España, with José Manuel García-Margallo (Ed. Lid, 1996)
  • Financiación de las Comunidades Autónomas y Corresponsabilidad Fiscal, with José Manuel García-Margallo and Vicente Martínez-Pujalte (Fundación Bancaixa, 1996)
  • La Apuesta Europea: de la moneda a la Unión Política, with José Manuel García-Margallo (Ed. Política Exterior, 1998)
  • Europa paso a paso (2002)
  • El rompecabezas. Así redactamos la Constitución europea (Ed. Biblioteca Nueva and Real Instituto Elcano, 2005)
  • ¿Por qué una Constitución para Europa? 25 respuestas, with Marcelino Oreja and Juan Antonio Carrillo Salcedo (Ed. Real Academia de Ciencias Morales y Políticas, 2005)
  • Alegato por Europa (Ed. Biblioteca nueva, 2006)
  • Coordinator: ¿Qué fue de la Constitución europea? (Ed. Planeta, 2007)
  • Editor: Liber Amicorum Marcelino Oreja Aguirre (Ed. Cinterco, 2010)

Méndez de Vigo also writes for ABC, and is an online contributor for El Economista.

Titles, Honours and awardsEdit


  • 9th Baron of Claret




  1. ^ "La mujer de Íñigo Méndez de Vigo será marquesa por partida doble". Vanity Fair (in Spanish). 2018-02-23. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Genealogía de hoy
  5. ^ Martin Banks (April 10, 2002), PROFILE – Master of the game: Íñigo Méndez de Vigo European Voice.
  6. ^ Elisabeth O'Leary (June 25, 2015), Spain PM names new education minister as election ripples linger Reuters.
  7. ^ Board of Trustees ELCANO – Royal Institute for International and Strategic Studies.
  8. ^ Members European Council on Foreign Relations.
  9. ^ Board of Trustees Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
  10. ^ Board of TrusteesMuseo Picasso Málaga.
  11. ^ Board of TrusteesUniversal Forum of Cultures.

External linksEdit

Academic offices
Preceded by
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Speaker at the College of Europe Opening Ceremony
Succeeded by
Mariano Rajoy